May be I don’t cry, but it hurts;
May be I won’t say, but I feel;
May be I don’t show but I care.
Can’t remember since when I started to numb my emotions / feelings. Of course I still have regular human responses, such as angry, sad or happy but mostly I shut myself up for a very long period of time, especially if they are family related.
The more self-education about abuse I obtained the more I understand this is a typical coping mechanism for many abuse survivors. We must disassociate ourselves from people / environment in order to cease / limit any potential emotional breakdown.
Violated social norms
It’s just so difficult for any abusers to fight against social norms / expectations. Like many other survivors, I never open myself up to share my story / experiences with others. Because I understand what we are about to share are not what majority people love to believe or listen in society.
Don’t mean to judge but this is the fundamental comfort zone for many people, it’s uncomfortable for many people to know / accept the truth that there’s dysfunctional families, there are parents who are not good for their kids. People feel more relieved or easy to digest for positive family stories.
It’s understandable but sure will make survivors feel uncomfortable to talk about their stories. This make us feel isolated from the crowd.
Betrayed by family
I always have problems to understand whenever seeing movies / TV episodes showing how people cry for their parents / family members’ problems, illness or felt touched when they sacrifice to do something good for them. I was confused and mentally stuck at those scenes.
This never happened to me as in my family, parents are non-questionable authority figures so kids must do whatever was told / ordered. There’s no so-called unconditioned love as we need to exchange our benefits / welfare / rights for attention / love.
Though I was so naive, young without many concrete concepts about definitions of parenting or healthy family. But somehow I sense how different of my family in comparing to others.
My mom was emotional abusive, neglected us and I was treated like her maid helped her to do housework. She’s an unhappy, jealous and emotional unstable woman who married my dad at very young age, simply want to escape from an abusive relative. I sense her regret for being tapped with a man not in love with.
Later when she found another man, she ran away and left 3 young kids (the youngest only 1 year old) with their narcissistic / abusive father, who cares only his benefits, lack of empathy. Straightly mentioned, not really mentally / psychologically well equipped as a parent. This further make me want to stay away from the “normal” crowd as I was so shamed for being raised in such kind of family.
Different from same age fellows
I was so self-conscious to hide all secrets for my own. Whenever my friends / classmate chatted about their families, parents or siblings. I just can’t resonate, feel stuck, staring at empty space in avoiding my turn to share.
Today when I look back, realized that I actually spent lots of lonely times at school during my childhood / teenager years. People think I was very shy / introvert, well, I do have many introvert traits, but most of the time was because I was afraid to attract attention, be asked for what’s going on in family or how I was doing during holidays.
I just don’t have much to share as I was not living like a normal kid / teenager. When my classmates / friends hanging around with their friends, participate different extracurricular activities, I was busy at non-stopped household works, raising my sisters and took care of my childish father. There were tons of chaos running daily in my life. Remember I used to take a deep breath and sigh whenever I put my keys out in front of home, just exhausted not only physically but mainly emotionally – don’t know what would happened that day after I step inside my toxic family. My unique life distance myself from majority of normal kids at my age.
Alien at workplace / Love environment
Generally, parents like to see their child has better education, success in career, happy and own their families one day. But that’s not the case in many dysfunctional families again.
Manipulative / toxic parents never want to see their kids grow because this will eventually challenge their powers or harm to their selfish benefits. I was a good student with good grades but my dad was very good at using guilty / shame to trap me in his selfish / evil plan. He persuaded me that I was the one who need to responsible for chaos in the family after his divorce. Thus I was not encouraged to have my own friends, social life or continuing my education.
I was berated / blamed / insult for not being considerate whenever I want to have my own rights / desire. I was so naive (stupid) to believe that’s what I supposed to do – take over housework and officially become a mom. I was insult for not putting family at first priority or whenever I try to explore outside world. Of course today I understood how selfish my abusive dad was – who transfer all blames / responsibilities from his shoulder to a kid.
This make me had lots of difficulties relating to other colleagues when I step into job market. Not only I never know how to establish healthy relationships with people since I was caged at home most of the time, but also I was afraid to be discovered about my family and how I was treated. I was brainstormed need to sacrifice everything for my toxic family, otherwise, I was not worthy for the family.
Because of my abusive histories, I was extremely nervous to have any romantic relationships, not only because my dad humiliated me when I dress well or attempt to socialize with others, but also I was terrified once they know my secrets, will no longer like me. To avoid getting hurts or dumped, I chose subconsciously not to step into any potential love relationships, or react stony when guys approach me.
Like the quote mentioned above, abuse survivors might not cry in front of you, but those hidden / unbearable hurts are tattooed in our hearts, which become part of our identities.
Abusive trauma make us have difficulties to connect with people, not only because of deep rooted trust issues but also we don’t feel safe / comfortable to share our stories or lean / rely on others. Same as many abuse survivors, I learn and manage very well to do everything on my own since early age. It’s sad / lonely but at least keep me peace, and in fact we can’t find the common grounds that can relate to majority of people.
Next time when you see someone who’s sitting alone during lunch break, please go forward or invite them as your companion. They may not as weird / strange as you think, but simply feeling uncomfortable to approach others, or try to protect themselves from hurts after going through tough times.
They may not say anything at the beginning or react cold to your kindness, but I assure you that they actually appreciate your effort for being supportive.
Are you survivor? Do you feel similar loneliness even if you surround by many people? How do you handle it?
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